"Negro" in the news

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Tue Jan 12 01:03:26 UTC 2010

So you agree that "Negro" is not offensive? Despite the census results, or perhaps in line with them, I consider the term acceptable only in historical settings.

I have an Asian friend who used to say "What's up, Negro?" to everyone, but he stopped that a few years back when the expression evidently went out of fashion. (I rarely talk to people in person and wouldn't know.)

On Jan 9, 2010, at 5:54 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "Negro" in the news
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> FWIW, it's the term, "Negro dialect," offensive and I'm astonished
> that it's still in use, especially by someone who, I assume, didn't
> grow up in a trailer park, thereby missing out on a standard,
> urban-public-school education.
> As for "light-skinned," I consider that to be merely misused WRT the
> Prez, though that may be merely a matter of opinion, with which other
> black people may disagree. IMO, the Prez is "light-brown-skinned."
> IME, "light-skinned" is the same as "light, bright, and damned-near
> white," to the extent that the person may have to identify himself in
> some manner to the bruz and cuz as a fellow-member of the tribe. E.g,.
> at UC Davis, a school whose percentage of black students is lower than
> that of Harvard, I didn't recognize a fellow-student as black till he
> walked up to me and said, " 'Ey, man! Whas's happ'nin'?", BE, whether
> combined with "black voice" or not, being a perfect shibboleth. On
> another occasion, a black foreigner, neither able to speak BE nor
> having "black voice," was forced to explain how it was that felt that
> he had the right to say, "I'm block" and to offer his unasked-for
> opinion on matters of race to a group of black students.
> -Wilson
> On Sat, Jan 9, 2010 at 5:58 PM, Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
>> Subject:      "Negro" in the news
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_14156729?source=rss
>> Responding to an emotional outcry, the U.S. Census Bureau on Friday announced it would explore eliminating the term "Negro" from future surveys.
>> But the revelation this week that the Jim Crow Era word remains part of a question about race in the 2010 census has sparked a passionate debate...
>> Le said the decision to keep the term "Negro" on the form was due principally to the fact some older African-Americans still identify themselves by that term. In fact, in the 2000 census, more than 50,000 people chose to write down explicitly that they identified themselves as "Negro" in a section where the census allows people to provide additional information...
>> -----
>> http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100109/ap_on_el_se/us_obama_reid
>> ...
>> Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada described in private then-Sen. Barack Obama as "light skinned" and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." Obama is the nation's first African-American president.
>> "I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans for my improper comments," Reid said in a statement released after the excerpts were first reported on the Web site of The Atlantic...
>> Benjamin Barrett
>> Seattle, WA

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